The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) published a new video of its head scientist, Dean Radin, speaking in front of students at the California Institute for Integral Studies (CIIS) about current state of psychic research.
It’s a very accessible, well-recorded, presentation. Recommended for staying up to date or for introduction into parapsychology research.
Topics include visual illusions, Ganzfeld experiments, Presentiment experiments, reverse-priming experiments and more. Highly recommended. Running time: 50 minutes.
Posted on Nov 16, 2015 in Afterlife, Books, OBE | Comments Off on Travel Far by Darryl E. Berry Jr. book review
“Travel Far” by Darryl E. Berry Jr. is a book about Out-of-Body Experiences (OBE). It was published in the summer of 2015 and is the first book by the author. Darryl sent me a copy of the book for my review.
Structurally, the book has two very distinct parts: it starts with a collection of Darryl’s personal OBE accounts, beginning from his first ones in childhood and going through experiences such as meeting the deceased, engaging extra-terrestrials and other strange being, and visits to strange worlds.
Part Two of the book is a practical guide to practicing Out-of-Body Experiences. It is longer than Part One and goes over a wide variety of topics.
Initially I found the personal OBE accounts in part one intriguing but also confusing. These are not connected much one to another but a collection of stories, some short and some longer. Most are OBE-related and at least one is a UFO encounter. While the content of many of these might be hard to digest, I’ve found that the writing style was very believable, it is written just as I would expect somebody to tell a personal story. Darryl refers to some of these accounts in the second part of the book and in this way the two parts connect.
I must digress now and mention that I don’t have any personal experience with OBE, but I’ve read other books and accounts about it. I believe that the closest I’ve ever been to one is the feelings of strange trembling in the body that is often described as a precursor to an OBE. As I’d never experienced OBE I can’t know for sure if this feeling was it but it was during my attempts to create an OBE, usually following my readings on the subject.
Back to the book. Part two is all about the theory and practice of OBE, starting at the very beginning. I’ve found this part to be written very well. Both the content and clarity of writing is very good. I’ve found that the parts that I had some knowledge in, such as energy work, theory of altered states of consciousness and some exercises for developing psychic abilities are in line with what I know and the advice there is correct, even if it doesn’t go into details in some cases, since they’re not the main goal of the book. Based on that, I believe that the advice in the book related to OBE is also good.
Part Two begins with the description of altered states of consciousness and how they relate to OBE. Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta states are all covered. The basics of development are covered next and include everything from relaxation and meditation to energy work to psychic development.
The book the covers practical considerations, such as timing, environment and goal setting.
From there the book moves to actual OBE practice, from preparation to initiation, covering the relationship between OBE and dreaming.
The author also has a troubleshooting chapter and some description of the OBE environment based on his experience and from other sources.
Again, this part of the book is written very practically and clearly. If you’re interested in the topic of OBE, especially if you want to learn to OBE yourself, this is probably one of the best books available.
Posted on Jul 31, 2015 in Parapsychology | Comments Off on Help development of “Am I Psychic” mobile app
Am I Psychic app
Dominic Parker, a college student at the University of West Georgia has been developing his “Am I Psychic” mobile app for iOS and Android devices, that uses science and statistics to test for psychic ability, in a fun and entertaining way.
After investing more than 18 months and $8000 dollars of his own money, Dominic is asking for your support in making the app a reality by funding its development, on Kickstarter. Some donation levels include interesting benefits like free lessons with famous parapsychologist Loyd Auerbach.
Posted on Feb 8, 2015 in Meditation | Comments Off on A 200-year-old mummified body in lotus position found in Mongolia
I’ve found articles about this rather new event searching the Internet for Pandido Khambo Lama Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov. I wrote that article about his preserved mummified body in 2007 and it was exciting to learn that a recent discovery in Mongolia found a mummified body even older than that of Pandido Khambo Lama Itigilov.
The body is thought to be about 200 years old but doesn’t show much signs of decay. It was found under an animal skin. Most probably the person, a monk, passed out during meditation and his body has stayed mummified, for some reason. Again, this case is somewhat similar to the case of the Siberian Lama.
The photograph below is of this body. The monk was found somewhere in Songinokhairkhan province, near the city of Ulaanbaatar, in central Mongolia. The original source appears to be a Mongolian News site “The morning news”, or “Өглөөний сонин”. It can be found here (not in English).
The short explanation of what EVP is – these are recordings, usually audio, of voices that seemingly couldn’t be produced by any means other than paranormal. Thus it’s named “Electronic Voice Phenomena”. The stronger evidence is provided by the recording of messages relevant to those who hear it, like it would be through a human medium. There appear to be cases of visual EVP as well, such as recordings on VCRs and such.
One of the more prominent people who researched EVP was the Latvian-born Dr. Konstantin Raudive. He recorded thousands of EVP messages and, after he passed, was the messenger to his fellow researchers in their EVP experiments.
Also, there’s an ongoing Kickstarter campaign now where the producer wants to set up a very rigorous EVP experiment and record the whole process. It includes a short but interesting personal introductory video, with some of the campaigner’s own experience there. Check it out and consider donating at The Afterlife Files
There’s also a good overview of the history of EVP at the Anomalist.
To those who’ve been following this site over the years, it’s no secret that I’ve been a devoted listener of the Skeptiko podcast and have also interviewed Alex Tsakiris, a couple of times. As such, it was very interesting for me to read a book that summarizes his journey.
I’ve actually published the review of this book, “Why Science is Wrong… About Almost Everything” on Amazon first, so in order not to repeat myself here, head over to read the review on Amazon. And don’t worry, my review is not long.
Posted on Jan 10, 2015 in Afterlife, NDE | Comments Off on What is the best kind of evidence of afterlife
Life after death, or afterlife, is something that people in history of the world took for granted. With the advancement of science and atheism, this belief has been replaced by the materialistic world view which explains that death is the end.
I’m not a historian, neither am I an anthropologist, but I assume that even today more people in the world believe in some kind of afterlife. Yes, these are mostly people following some kind of religion, and thus their belief in afterlife is just that – a belief.
Being more scientifically inclined, and not being raised in a religious family, I’m not taking the claims brought by them at face value. Instead, I’m searching for more substantial evidence.
So what kinds of evidence are there for the afterlife? Well, there’s mediumship, and various related phenomena like automatic writing, for example. I have no personal experience with this, and reading about seances doesn’t sound convincing enough for me. I do have a relative who had a strongly convincing experience with a medium, but I wasn’t there and don’t know all the details, so this doesn’t count either.
Another well-known claim in favour of afterlife is brought forth by Near-Death Experiences (NDE). I assume most people heard of it. There are some very compelling, or at least interesting NDE accounts. And there are very many of them. Some studies were and are being conducted on this topic. In general, NDEs do appear to suggest some kind of continuation of consciousness after bodily death. But what could be even more compelling?
“Death-Bed Visions” is another contender. I don’t think it’s an established acronym. Don’t know why, it has three letter after all. Probably not that known. Anyway, a new term for this was coined by Raymond Moody, the famous author of “Life after Life” — Shared NDEs. Shared NDEs is when a non-dying person is experiencing the passing away of another one, close to him, physically or emotionally. These are interesting in that they happen not to people who are dying themselves, i.e. their bodies are not malfunctioning. There is a recent article about this, published on CNN, Beyond Goodbye.
Is there some kind of an even more objective evidence for the afterlife? Well, there might just be. And it even has a 3-letter acronym – EVP. EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomenon. It’s usually a recording of some words or phrases on analog or digital voice recorders that have no other technical explanations and are usually related to the people who record them. They often even sound close to the (deceased) persons from whom they appear to be coming, both in the sound of voice and in choice of words and phrases. They are also often relevant or otherwise specific. Oh, in rare cases there are even photographic phenomena, although these do not seem to be the focus of most researchers.
EVP, being more technological and objective, looks like one the stronger candidates to me. There are not just stories, there are recordings which you can here.
Next time, I’ll link to some interesting resources on EVP.
What is the best kind of evidence for the existence of afterlife for you?
Posted on Jul 22, 2014 in Research | Comments Off on Have you had an Out-of-Body Experience?
The below text is posted verbatim from a request for research participant that I received from Andrew Hodrien, Research Assistant at Nottingham Trent University.
Request for research participants
Have you had one or more Out-of-Body Experiences (OBEs) in which it seems as if your sense of self or consciousness has become separated from your physical body? These experiences can occur under a variety of conditions. If you have experienced one or more OBEs we are interested to hear from you about your experience(s). This research is being carried out at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) and is being conducted by me, Andrew Hodrien (Research Assistant – my contact details can be found at the end of this message) and the project is being supervised by Dr David Wilde.
The aim of this research is to develop an OBE ‘screening’ scale which will be able to more precisely identify whether someone has had an OBE. At present no such tool exists for OBEs. Our research is not testing your experience in relation to psychological variables as is commonly done in OBE research, but instead explores the content of the experience itself to better understand it and differentiate it from other experiences.
To do this we would like your help by asking you if you would fill in an online questionnaire anonymously about the individual aspects of one of your OBEs. Your inclusion of this experience is important as it will contribute to the development of the scale. You can access the questionnaire by clicking on the link below.
The questionnaire includes full information on the study to enable you to decide whether or not to participate and offers a general definition of the OBE.
The inclusion criteria for this study (aside from your experience fitting our definition) are:
You have no known organic condition which causes you to be prone to visual hallucinations
You are able to provide informed consent
You are over 18 years old
You are able to provide a short written account of your OBE in English
You are able to recall all of the OBE you wish to tell us about (i.e. not just give a partial account of it)
You won’t need to note these down but please only participate if you can agree with these criteria.
The survey can be completed by clicking the link below:
That being said, none of the articles that I ever wrote come close to the fabulous summary posted on the blog of Jon Lieff, MD. His article, Meditation and the Brain 2013, presents detailed but approachable overview of the latest scientific research into the benefits of meditation, Tai Chi and yoga.
The benefits of these practices span a wide spectrum of human activity, such as physical health, mental health, dealing with pain and creativity.